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Proceedings Paper

A large area flexible expandable network for structural health monitoring
Author(s): Giulia Lanzara; Jianmin Feng; Fu-Kuo Chang
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Paper Abstract

An investigation was performed to develop a flexible sensor network that can be stretched and expanded to cover structures with an order of magnitude larger than its original unexpanded size. The increasing need to cover large areas with a high number of sensors, networks, and electronic devices for structural health monitoring leads to this study. In this paper a flexible polymer with ultra- high stretching capability (linear expansions larger than 1000% the original length) is designed, fabricated and tested for sensor network applications. The stretchability of the polymer is achieved by engineering thousands of micronodes, which house the sensors and electronics, interconnected by extendable and flexible polymer microwires. The extendable microwires are the key element to perform uniform expansions of the network in all directions, to allow precise location of the nodes, to maximize the polymer expansion per unit area and to allow translation only of the nodes. With the proposed microwire design, a linear elongation wider than 1000% was achieved for a 256 nodes network, avoiding failure of the microwires and micronodes during fabrication and extension. It is believed that the proposed flexible, expandable polymer design is a cost-effective approach to integrate networks of thousands of sensors, actuators and electronic devices into large structures.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6932, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008, 69321N (8 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.781803
Show Author Affiliations
Giulia Lanzara, Stanford Univ. (United States)
Jianmin Feng, Stanford Univ. (United States)
Fu-Kuo Chang, Stanford Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6932:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008
Masayoshi Tomizuka, Editor(s)

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